GM is recalling more than 240,000 vehicles to fix a latent brake issue.
GM says the rear brake caliper pistons can contain trapped hydrogen gas that could make the brakes feel soft and increase the risk of a crash. GM says it's not aware of any crashes.
Dealers will bleed the brakes to remove gas. Once the gas is out GM says the problem won't happen again.
GM is preparing to notify owners, but those with concerns can call dealers and schedule repairs now.
The affected vehicles are:
2018 Chevrolet Cruze
2018-2019 Chevrolet Equinox
2018-2019 GMC Terrain
2018-2019 Chevrolet Impala
2018 Chevrolet Malibu
2018-2019 Chevrolet Volt
2018-2019 Buick Regal
2018-2019 Buick LaCrosse
2018-2019 Cadillac XTS
2018-2019 Chevrolet Bolt
Or, in GM’s own words in a notice to NHTSA:
Describe the defect or noncompliance: General Motors has decided that a defect which relates to motor vehicle safety exists in certain 2018–2019 model year GMC Terrain vehicles; 2018 model year Chevrolet Malibu vehicles; 2018–2019 model year Chevrolet Cruze, Equinox, Volt, Impala, and Bolt vehicles; 2018–2019 model year Buick Lacrosse and Regal vehicles; and 2018–2019 model year Cadillac XTS vehicles. In a small number of these vehicles, the rear-brake caliper pistons may contain trapped hydrogen gas that could be released into the vehicle’s brake system.
Describe the cause: The manufacturer of the brake pistons failed to properly chrome and temper the brake pistons during the manufacturing process. In this condition, hydrogen gas can remain trapped in the piston body. When the vehicle is assembled and a piston that contains trapped gas contacts brake fluid, this gas can be released into the vehicle’s brake system.
Describe the safety risk: If gas is present in the brake system, rear-brake performance may be reduced, increasing the risk of a crash. Identify any warning which can precede or occur: If gas is present in the brake system, the customer will notice a soft or spongy feel when applying the brake pedal even though stopping distances may not be affected. According to GM’s supplier, all trapped gas in a defective piston should be released within 23 days of vehicle assembly and will be noticeable to the driver within 15 days of assembly.
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